The Power of the Heart-to-Heart Connection.
Melissa has been with us just over a year. Her integration has been full of challenges for everyone. She’s been teaching us and we’ve been teaching her, too.
Recently, it occurred to me that creating a permanent heart link with Melissa would help her feel more accepted and more loved. She was eager to do it, even after I reminded her that I already have this connection with Violet and Echo and Starlight.
Once it was created, Melissa began getting into my lap and doing her best to climb inside my shirts. As you can see, she doesn’t always fit completely inside it.
Some of my friends are suggesting that I must be part kangaroo, and she wants to be my “Joey.”
A Neurological Disconnect
Although she’s the youngest member of my feline family, Melissa sees herself as the dominant cat, or “top cat.” Because this is Sakhara’s position, and Sakhara isn’t ready to retire, the two of them have had some difficulties.
Sakhara, age 19, is a very grounded, Earth-energy being who doesn’t believe in fighting. She will hiss and will raise a paw to cuff with claws sheathed, but she won’t start a fight and won’t participate in a fight.
In contrast, Melissa is very young (about 18 months old now) and full of energy. She had been swatting at Sakhara and going out of her way to do it. Even when we were all sitting quietly on the sofa, Melissa would suddenly approach Sakhara and hit her in the fact. Sakhara began jerking her head back in anticipation of being hit whenever Melissa approached her .
Melissa would also come up to Violet and hit her in the face or jump on her head and back, which can injure Violet, age 17 and a bit frail.
Starlight, age 4, loves to wrestle and play with Melissa, but doesn’t expect to be hit. The few times Melissa raised a paw to her, Starlight was startled and gave Melissa a disdainful look.
To stem the wave of aggressive behavior, I pulled out all the stops.
Melissa has been treated with
- flower essences (to remove aggressive emotional patterns),
- chiropractic (to eliminate physical pain),
- homeopathy (to balance her physical/emotional/mental/and spiritual aspects),
- hands-on-healing techniques whenever they seemed called for.
I’ve had varying successes, all short lived.
I also took a more rational (and sometimes irrational) approach. I explained, and explained, and yelled, and explained the “house rules,” and finally even did a “time out” or two with Melissa, all to no avail.
I reassured Melissa that we all loved her and that hitting anyone was unacceptable. She’s a brilliant cat, and I knew she understood.
Why was she continuing to hit everyone?
Hitting is different than the play she does with Starlight. Together they chase, jump on each other, wrestle, and bite and chew on each other. “Sneak attacks” are common and accepted by both. They also cuddle and sleep together every day.
When I began training in The Emotion Code™, Dr. Bradley Nelson’s amazing system for eliminating emotional blocks, Melissa was one of my first “clients.” I got some good results, but the hitting continued. Melissa heart is very defended and I have not yet removed the barrier she put there for emotional protection.
I had also purchased The Body Code™, Dr. Bradley Nelson’s advanced healing system software. Not wanting to leave anything to chance, I did some sessions using this modality with Melissa, too. It was through these sessions that I discovered something of great importance:
Melissa had a neurological disconnect.
She was unable to remember not to hit.
She KNEW hitting was unacceptable.
She just couldn’t stop herself from doing it.
She’d hit someone, and then think, “oops.”
This was new information for me.
I had this insight when I started reconnecting her neurological system.
My next insight was that Melissa had not be able to talk to me about it until I began to reconnect and realign her nervous system. Not being able to talk about it was another symptom of the problem.
It was going to take more than one Body Code™ session to completely reconnect her neurological pathways, but in the meantime I had to protect the other cats. So I asked for spiritual guidance:
What would protect the other cats while Melissa’s healing went forward?
A Family Conference
During the family conference, I explained to everyone that Melissa was having difficulty remembering not to hit.
I invited Violet, Sakhara, and Starlight to all help Melissa.
Each one agreed to remind her, from time to time, not to hit.
The change in Melissa from that moment on
After observing her behavior for a few days, I was amazed that she no longer even raised a paw to strike.
I checked in with the other felines. How frequently were they reminding Melissa not to hit them?
They said they didn’t need to remind her, as it didn’t seem to be a problem any more.
I had also observed the Melissa was unusually sweet and cuddly, more so than ever before.
When I asked her what happened, Melissa said,
I was stunned!
In the 1960’s and 70’s there were Encounter Groups where people participated in games to learn more about how they interacted with others. In one activity, everyone would form a circle holding hands, leaving just one person out, and that person had to try to get into the circle. This revealed each person’s style for getting into a social group that seems to be closed.
Was “aggression” Melissa’s way to
become a member of the group?
While I don’t have a definitive answer to my question, one thing is clear: Melissa is now transformed. She no longer hits the others, although I’ve seen a paw raised once or twice, and she’s much more affectionate towards me.
During this time on Earth, as we’re all being encouraged to become heart centered, to live from our hearts, and to connect through our hearts. Melissa is demonstrating almost daily to me the power of the heart connection.
Learning the Rules and Establishing Roles
When Melissa came to live here last fall, I had several ideas about where the challenges might be.
Melissa is a dominant cat. At 6 months of age and even younger, according to Kim, her breeder, Melissa tried to dominate all the adults at the cattery.
So introducing Melissa here meant keeping a watchful eye on each of my other cats.
Kim brought Melissa for a “play date” – something rarely done in the cat world. Cats are not like dogs. It can take cats a long time to become acquainted.
I was happy to do this, however, because I knew that Starlight was sensitive to energies and would get a good feel for Melissa if they had time together, even just an hour or two.
Kim and her daughter both came for visit. All 3 humans sat on the floor in a small room with Melissa and Starlight.
Starlight basically wants to be friends with everyone, so she was excited to meet Melissa.
Melissa basically wants to be dominant over everyone, so the first thing she did was growl at Starlight.
Starlight had never been growled at. She was familiar with hissing, but growling upped the ante beyond her experience. She was surprised, and quickly pulled back from the nose-to-nose “let me sniff you” greeting posture.
Melissa then took over the hassock cat bed, placed herself down on it, curled her front paws underneath her, and surveyed her new domain.
Starlight was fascinated as she sat cautiously under my sewing machine table at the far end of the room.
There were more subtle interactions going on, but neither cat came physically close to the other again that day.
After the “play date” was over, I asked Starlight how she felt about Melissa coming here to live.
I really like her. I want her to come. I think she’ll be fun and teach me things.
I was very pleased to hear this, as I really wanted Melissa to come.
I had told all 3 of my cats that everyone had to agree, but that it was especially important that Starlight wanted Melissa to be here, as she would be alone with Melissa after Violet (16 years) and Sakhara (19 years) left the physical realm.
After checking in with Violet and Sakhara, who had taken quick looks at Melissa from a distance and then rapidly exited, it was clear that everyone was in agreement. Melissa could come live here if she wanted to come.
INTEGRATING WITH STARLIGHT
Starlight is Echo (my horse) reincarnated.
Echo was always the low horse on the totem pole in any herd, even when there were just 2 horses.
When Starlight arrived, she showed total deference to both Violet and Sakhara, and Violet’s word on anything and everything was accepted as LAW.
When Violet and Sakhara announced that it was up to Starlight to “bring up” her new younger sister, I was a bit concerned.
How was Starlight going to respond to a kitten who saw herself as dominant?
I could feel Starlight’s uncertainty. I told her,
Let’s talk about this, OK? You can ask me questions, and I’ll answer them as best I can. You and I can discuss what the rules will be and we’ll agree on them and then you can tell Melissa. I’ll back you up 100%
Starlight was clearly relieved. Here were some of the things we discussed.
- Do not allow Melissa to take over your favorite spots. They are YOUR spots. It’s OK to share them with her, but don’t let her take them over.
At first, Starlight would just let Melissa do whatever she wanted and tell me, “It’s OK” and walk away.
Maybe it was “OK” for now, but I sensed that very soon it wouldn’t feel that way.
While Starlight is very generous and loving and compassionate and giving, at some point she was probably going to feel pushed aside.
This was especially true because Violet had told Starlight that she was not to jump in or sit in my lap in the living room. Starlight had made a place for herself in my office, and now Melissa was moving in on Starlight’s spot.
- You’re bigger and stronger than Melissa. You can stand up for yourself without hurting her. Melissa needs to learn about boundaries, and you’re the perfect one to teach her about them. I promise to back you up every time.
Starlight was very unsure about this at first. For one thing, Starlight doesn’t much like boundaries, either. I saw this as an opportunity for Starlight to learn more about setting and maintaining boundaries.
- I’d like you to help me teach Melissa what is and what is not acceptable in our home. You know what the rules are here for good behavior. I’ll be teaching her as well, so we can do it together.
This one is particularly interesting, as Starlight was always so cooperative. If I asked something of her, such as “please stay off the counters” it only ever took twice and she “got it” and cooperated.
Melissa, on the other hand, didn’t listen, didn’t want to hear about any rules, and proceeded to ignore them consistently. She was a “typical teenager” from the get go at 6 months of age. I could ask her to do or not do something 100 times and she’d continue to ignore me.
- Remember — your rules about your relationship with Melissa don’t have to be the same as the rules Violet gave you. Make rules that feel right to you for your relationship with Melissa.
I promised to work with her as a team. I could feel that Starlight felt supported in her new role as “big sister.”
This approach worked very well. When Starlight was uncertain about how to handling things, she’d ask me. Whenever I saw her standing up for herself, I praised her highly.
If Melissa needed additional confirmation about doing what Starlight asked of her, I gave it, and Melissa quickly learned that I wouldn’t allow her to dominate Starlight.
Soon Starlight was able to get Melissa out of her bed if she didn’t want Melissa to sleep with her or if Melissa was biting her trying to play when Starlight wanted to sleep.
One day, I noticed the two of them curled up together. Melissa started to bite Starlight, who took a paw and firmly placed it down on Melissa’s head. The biting stopped immediately.
I also made sure there was another bed available close by that Melissa liked and could call her own.
I reassured both cats that I loved them and that I supported Starlight’s right to be the older sibling and to teach Melissa, and that each cat would get her needs met.
Here’s a video I made of the two playing while Melissa was in recovery from spaying. Choose full screen to read all the comments.
Still Going Strong.
And I thought she was leaving?
Those of you who have been following this saga for awhile probably remember last year when Violet seemed to be departing the earth plane. She had been diagnosed with early stage renal (kidney) failure and she did seem to be ready to go.
! ! ! SURPRISE ! ! !
Violet is still here and thriving despite kidneys that only partially work! What an amazing gal!
Last October, Violet welcomed Melissa (you’ll be reading more about Melissa soon, I promise) into our home intending to turn over to the new kitten what Violet considers to be her main job responsibility, i.e, supervising me.
Does this mean Violet doesn’t think Melissa is ready yet to take on the task?
VIOLET: You ARE a lot of work, you know.
NEDDA: Really?? So now it takes 2 of you?
VIOLET: Melissa has some growing into the job to do.
MELISSA: No. I don’t. [Typical teenager!]
Truthfully, I’m grateful for each and every day that Violet is here.
What I find astonishing is that she seems to be getting stronger and stronger!
To what do I attribute Violet’s new-found energies? What is keeping this elder cat young?
- Homeopathy – a constitutional remedy can do absolute wonders to keep a cat in balance.
- Energy healing and massages.
- A raw food diet.
- My insistence that she take electrolytes daily.
- Pure stubbornness on her part.
- Melissa’s exercise program for Violet.
Melissa — Violet’s personal trainer?
Melissa is like a personal exercise coach for Violet. And it’s working.
Violet may move slowly around the house at times, but … there are times when she runs! She jumps on the sofa. She actually even runs up the stairs sometimes. And she does it all with “catitude.”
Here’s how the exercise program works:
Violet gets up and starts walking across the living room, heading for the litter boxes which are down a short hallway. Melissa follows.
Violet decides she wants privacy, and heads back through the living room and up the stairs where there’s another litter box. Melissa follows and tries to bite or actually does bite Violet’s rear legs.
Violet screams her annoyance, and mutters and growls under her breath, and moves faster.
This has no effect on Melissa whatsoever.
Violet practically runs up the stairs.
I sometimes try to grab Melissa, which is actually impossible, as she’s lightening fast.
Does Violet actually get to use the litter box? Definitely. But this way Melissa has provided Violet with additional exercise.
Violet loves Melissa and genuinely has accepted her into the family.
They sleep together almost daily.
Good job, Melissa, and thank you.
MELISSA: “I love you, Violet.”
VIOLET: “I love you, too, Melissa.”
They say cats have 9 lives.
Do cats have second childhoods?
Violet will be 16 years old this coming August, 2015.
Despite a diagnosis of renal failure (based on some very high numbers), she is still purring and glowing.
Last week she started recalling some of her antics from her youth.
Needless to say, I’m happy she’s feeling good, although some of her antics can be very annoying.
Pressing the speaker button on the phone.
I was sound asleep around 1 a.m. the other morning, and suddenly a loud dial tone jolted me and Starlight (under the covers) to instant wakefulness. Starlight bolted out and jumped off the bed. Violet sat primly on the nightstand, pleased as punch with herself, as I sought to quickly find the speaker button to turn it off.
This is a favorite antic of Violet’s. She seems to understand several different buttons on the phone on my night stand, including the redial. To prevent her calling my friends in the middle of the night, I always have to reset the last number dialed to 2 numerical digits that won’t call anyone.
Violet has been waking me up this way every night for the last 10 days. One night I grabbed the spray water bottle I keep handy for these occasions, and Violet got a little shower. This did not especially deter her. She tried to come under the covers a few minutes later while still very wet.
VIOLET: “The easiest way for me to get you to let me into my favorite spot is to wake you up.”
NEDDA: “Other times, you tap me with your paw. That’s much less startling and I will lift up the covers for you, as I have over the years.”
VIOLET: “You take the fun out of it. Besides Starlight was in the way.”
NEDDA: [No comment.]
The game of Catch the Cat.
VIOLET: “It’s called Chase the Cat.”
Apparently, this game must be played while I’m in the middle of doing something that should not interrupted, such as while I’m making up a mix of raw cat food for the freezer.
It’s not good to leave raw food sitting out on the counter. Of course, knowing this, Violet is in the mood to play.
“Catch the Cat” is played by me chasing Violet and attempting to catch her.
VIOLET: “Not at all!. The game is for you to chase me and NOT catch me — until I’m good and ready to be caught.”
NEDDA: “Then where’s the fun in this for me?”
“Chase the Cat” requires that I chase Violet and TRY to catch her. She pretends to be “shy” by hiding under things where a human won’t fit and staying just out of reach.
Then, when she’s good and ready, I’m allowed to pick her up and cuddle her. When I put her back on the floor, we’re supposed to begin again.
This game became much more complicated after Starlight arrived 3 years ago. Starlight wants to chase Violet and would be happy to be chased by Violet. Unfortunately, Violet doesn’t want Starlight in the our private game.
I’ll leave to your imagination the chaos that results when Starlight decides to join in.
Knock down the lamp.
Years ago, whenever she wanted attention, Violet would sit on the back of a chair in the living room, reach over to the lamp shade on a very tall table lamp, and threaten to knock it over.
If I didn’t respond immediately, she would knock it over.
This is Violet’s idea of how to get my attention when I want to read, or nap, or do anything while she wants to play with me.
The lamp shades and the lamps were quite old, and she eventually demolished the shades completely because I wasn’t always fast enough to prevent disaster.
Luckily, I was able to replace the shades a few years ago after Violet had stopped attacking the lamps.
One day last week, out of the corner of my eye, I see Violet poised to attack the lamp. She was looking right at me. She was waiting for me to notice.
VIOLET: “Wow, did that ever get your attention. And you thought you were too tired to get up.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m delighted to see my somewhat elderly gal having a second childhood. Nevertheless, I’d prefer she doesn’t teach these tricks to Starlight.
Starlight, please don’t be listening.
STARLIGHT: “I’m not listening.”
NEDDA: “Yup. Definitely listening!”
Sunday afternoon. A client called to ask for help with her cat who was dying and struggling for breath. It was an expected passage, and I recognized who it was almost immediately as I attempted to discern the message from underneath a layering of cats. “Please don’t hang up yet,” I telepathically sent to my client as I struggled to sit up and gently reposition the cats.
As I listened to the sobs in my client’s voice, I could feel that this was me, asking for help with Violet – or it could be. I was flooded with my client’s grief, and some of my own, too.
I managed to shift cats around and get to the phone before she hung up. It was a brief call. Her cat expressed her readiness to depart and to receive euthanasia. That was all the client needed to know.
As I hung up the phone, I turned to see Violet sitting on the sofa where I had left her. Still glowing, she is.
“Please don’t reach a crisis on a weekend,” I requested as I gave a deep sigh.
Still radiant with life force, Violet just looked at me knowingly — that inscrutable feline expression that even telepathy doesn’t ever seem to penetrate.
In my heart, I thanked my client for giving me the opportunity to be of service and to be part of her sacred moments with her beloved feline companion.
Then I gave Violet a kiss on her head. She purred. Sacred moments abound when we’re open to them